Sunday, September 16, 2012

Idea Garage Sale: Fun with First Lines

It's been awhile since I played with first lines, possibly because my focus has been on getting existing work out there. Or, y'know, my inability to get it out. Let's see what's kicking around in my head.

1) Not everyone is up to the responsibility of being the Coolest Boy in School.
2) Superpowers were the cat's idea.
3) I assumed that my brother lied when he warned me that the earth was flat and I'd go shooting over the edge if I rode my bike too fast to stop at the foot of the hill.
4) Alison was very beautiful by the light of the burning building.
5) The world beyond the machine came into focus.
6) When Pam came in, a crowd of women almost hid Charlene's desk.
7) The babysitter arrived as Kate cooked the boys' dinner.
8) A discount tire commercial muddled up the tail end of her dream, and Corrine woke lying straight as a corpse down the middle of her bed.
9) "It's Your Turn," read the big black letters on the gold flyer stuck in Amy's gate when she got home from the funeral.
10) Prolonged rain made Jill nostalgic.

Not sure what to make of that; but I'm under no obligation to make anything.

My first impulse is to rewrite #4, but the incongruity of the second half requires the banal generalization of the first half. I think. Maybe not. Maybe it should be "Alison looked beautiful" instead. It's equally banal without using either a passive verb or a flabby intensifier...

I did rewrite #6 and #7. Maybe that means there's hope for the old, dead stories from which they came. I should go check.


  1. Sorry, but nobody's first line will ever equal the one my son Walden brought home from school at, IIRC, age nine: assigned to write a sentence using the word "triumph", he turned in,

    "When they found George Mason's cold, frozen body, he had a strange look of triumph on his face, as though he had won a great contest."

    It drives me crazy that he never wrote the rest of that story, nor to this day (age 23) has he written anything else that I have read.

  2. Wow! Yes, that certainly tops any of mine here! I'd read the next line for that!